Community Volunteer Fire Patrol (Arson Watch)

Sadly, arson is a crime that is all too prevalent, as evident by a series of fires adjacent to the Burbank community set in 2008 in Griffith Park, the '09 Station Fire and many others every year throughout Southern California.  In communities with a wildland interface, the threat of arson is multiplied – and Burbank sits nestled against the Verdugo Mountains. Our most recent battle there was the 2017 La Tuna Fire, an approximate 7200 acre wildland blaze that made national attention and caused the evacuation of well over 300 homes and destroyed 5 homes.

The Burbank Fire Corps Program volunteers take part in the defense against fire activity by conducting high visibility non-hazardous/non-enforcement patrols within the community and adjacent neighborhoods in the Verdugo Mountains. Burbank Fire Corps Program Community Volunteer Fire Patrols provide marked vehicle patrols through the residential neighborhoods, parks, recreation sites and other interface areas, creating a high visibility presence in the Burbank hillside on days and times designated by the Burbank Fire Department.  Community Volunteer Fire Patrols locate and note vehicles, suspicious behavior and potentially dangerous activity in areas prone to fire. Patrol units continuously radio updates to a designated Command Post, which relays critical information to Burbank Police or Fire.  The Community Volunteer Fire Patrols will also patrol the various parks and recreation sites within the canyons and foothills in Burbank to ensure that patrons of those areas are following posted regulations regarding smoking, open fires, barbecues and proper disposal of hot ash in approved receptacles.  Often times patrol members will walk through these parks and recreation sites performing public education by stopping and informing patrons who are barbecuing about the safe disposal of hot ash when they are finished for the day.

In addition to vehicle patrols, the Community Volunteer Fire Patrol has foot patrols that hike the local trails. These foot patrols perform the same activity as the vehicle patrols as well as educate other hikers as to the potential fire dangers of Verdugo hillside during extreme fire weather.

During the rainy season, the Community Volunteer Fire Patrols are sometimes utilized for storm patrols. On designated days when rainfall reaches certain threshold limits, or under certain conditions when severe weather is expected, the patrols are activated. These patrolsl checks for high volume water flow and for any mud flow along the hillside.

Training

BFCP members training for Community Volunteer Fire Patrol duty learn weather analysis, observation techniques, patrol patterns, documentation, public interaction, vehicle operations, personal safety while on patrol as well as use of a dry chemical and water fire extinguisher (although fire suppression is not encouraged or part of the patrol, knowledge of this equipment is required training for safety purposes). While we do not approach those engaged in suspicious behavior, we do create a neighborhood presence.